Migration to the UK: politics, policy and public opinion

Join us for a one-day conference where we will present our latest report on migration to the UK. We’ll be gathering the latest thinking on the key electoral, political and economic challenges facing the UK in relation to migration, and how to address them. Drawing from academia, government, policy experts and journalism, the panels will consider: the current state of migration policy; what society wants and why; the role migration will play in the general election; how to build a sustainable and effective asylum system; and the challenges facing the next government. The day ends with a drinks reception launching the publication of a special issue of the Political Quarterly, which discusses the current government’s policy and policy legacy on migration.

To register to pick up tickets in person, click the Eventbrite link below, and to register to watch the event online, click here.

Conference programme

9:00 – 9:30 Arrival and coffee/cakes

9:30 – 10:30 Panel 1: State of migration: where are we now?

Chair: Anand Menon – Britain in a changing Europe


  • Madeleine Sumption – Migration Observatory
  • Jonathan Portes – Great Britain in a changing Europe
  • Robert Ford – Great Britain in a changing Europe
  • Miranda Green – Financial Times

10:30 – 11:00 Tea break

11:00 – 12:00 Panel 2: What does society expect regarding immigration?

Chair: Robert Ford – Britain in a changing Europe


  • James Blagden – More in common
  • James Kanagasooriam – Focal Data
  • Patrick English – YouGov
  • Sophie Stowers – Great Britain in a changing Europe

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch

13:00 – 14:00 Panel 3: What role will immigration play in the general elections?

Host: Jill Rutter – Great Britain in a changing Europe


  • Randall Hansen – University of Toronto
  • Tim Montgomerie – Conservative House
  • Naomi Smith – the best for Britain

14:00 – 14:30 Tea break

14:30 – 15:30 Panel 4: Asylum and humanitarian migration: can we build an effective and sustainable system?

Host: Catherine Barnard – Great Britain in a changing Europe


  • Michaela Benson – University of Lancaster
  • Henry Hill – Conservative House
  • Sunder Katwala – British future

15:30 – 16:00 Tea break

16:00 – 17:00 Panel 5: Migration challenges for the next government

Chair: Jonathan Portes – Britain in a changing Europe


  • James Hampshire – University of Sussex and Political Quarterly
  • Jonathan Thomas – Social Market Foundation
  • Sarah Mulley – policy researcher and consultant
  • Madeleine Sumption – Migration Observatory

17:00 – 18:00 Premiere of the special issue of the Political Quarterly and refreshments